Uglies, Pretties, Specials and the HSC

Scott Westerfields series of Teen Novels has a massive audience and fan base, not least in fan-fiction writing, and there is a film due for release sometime next year. However, since when does Hollywood own the creativity in a world of YouTube. Let’s set this against the option unit in the HSC Information Processing Technology syllabus – called Multimedia. Have a look at the Bored of Studies forums to see what kids are being asked to make – 10 page websites about school (I know, it’s too boring to click). Then maybe have a look at the HSC Online information for teachers – can’t be bothered – well it suggests making some powerpoint based tour of the school, or some menu driven website.

Now spend a few minutes being amazed at the fan produced trailers for these great books




Here are the outcomes statements.

H1.1 applies an understanding of the nature and function of information technologies to a specific practical situation
H2.1 analyses and describes a system in terms of the information processes involved
H2.2 develops solutions for an identified need which address all of the information processes
H3.2 demonstrates ethical practice in the use of information systems, technologies and processes
H6.2 selects and applies a methodical approach to planning, designing or implementing a solution.

Please, no more Powerpoint as HSC Multimedia.  Find an English teacher, a Librarian and get creative.


8 thoughts on “Uglies, Pretties, Specials and the HSC

  1. These fan trailers are brilliant, and books like the Ugly series by Scott Westerfield and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins are the inspiration for work such as this. The futuristic writing with the conflicting moral undertones appeals to students, and with so many online tools they can create imaginative responses. The kids can do it, the teachers need to allow it and lift their expectations of what can be achieved.

  2. great videos indeed. I’d love to teach IPT if I could but so far, no opportunities at school.

    If you look at the outcomes – it’s heavily process-oriented and rightly-so. Processes are abstracted, generally repeatable and objective. Products – or more pointedly, the technology (H/W and S/W) used to produce them – are concrete, date quicker and more subjective.

    Technology moves so quickly and making it the focus makes the course (learning) obsolete by the time the kids leave school. Teach them to abstract from the technology and they expect technology to ride with them not vice versa, ie. I could do this in version 2.0 so surely I still can in version 5.0 or perhaps in competitor product B. I think this is the difference between doing Computer Science/Engineering and technical course at TAFE (both have their purpose but not inter-changeable)…but perhaps I digress.

    Back to high school ed, I do have an issue about assessing just the product in a process-oriented course. In my studies of PBL, there is as much importance given to the process as to the product (no point having a good process if you always come up with a dud product) – and assessment happens throughout the project, not just at the end (so true in real life project work). IPT and IST, for that matter, both lend themselves to PBL yet I don’t think they are taught as such; even though there are ‘projects’.

    But that’s coming from an ex-IT professional going into education. I know from experience that the process-based skills outlive product-based skills. However, abstracting from product-based skills is a skill itself that allows me to pick up new technology with relative ease (and with determination of course, just like Thomas the Tank Engine). 🙂

    pardon the rambling.

  3. Well Sir I would have to disagree. I am not sure which course the student you refer to is completing for there HSC? I would have a guess though that they completing the Industrial Technology Multimedia Technologies and that need to have a serious talk with their teacher to gain an appreciation of what is required of them. I can say though as a Technology Teacher in the current system the IPT does focus more on theory then the practise and Multimedia is just one part of the course structure.

    I however teach to this syllabus which is more practical and Industry orientated.

    Multimedia is a very mis-understood topic within schools. Many teachers see multimedia as a PowerPoint Presentation, they do not realise that video, audio, games, websites etc are the real multimedia.

    When you have read through the syllabus you will see that IT Multimedia Technologies students are well prepared for their HSC Major project. Obviously though there will be limiting factors on their Major project. These can range from their own skill level and perception of what they can accomplish to a lack of local resources or an under skilled teacher. HSC IT Multimedia students in reality are only restricted by their own knowledge as to what they produce as a Major project. Having said that though, there are particular projects which will attract more marks in the HSC. These projects are focused on Education or Community.

    There are many more factors which we could discuss here, though I am sure you have heard me go on about such things on twitter. If you would like, I would gladly share with you what I try to do with my students. May be you could share some realistic ideas as well.


    • I taught IPT for 5 years, I am highlighting the resource from HSC Online. IPT often scales badly in the HSC, and so students need to do very well in their project work. I take your point, however my aim is simply to highlight that minor or major work does not need to be simplistic – as long as it meets the outcomes (which I took from the Board Of Studies support site: Multimedia Option). Given the software and the laptops in play, I would encourage teachers (with or without personal skills to make video) to challenge students. Even a site such as Animoto can produce a great result. As projects are determined by the teacher, and assessed by the teacher – they are highly subjective. One teacher might well encourage students to produce an amazing short film, using a vast array of tools and software – another might simply stick to Word and Powerpoint. I can’t see why producing a trailer in the multimedia option would be anymore unrealistic that a slideshow of the school in the foyer.

      • I agree. The resources on the HSC Online service originate from the the “New HSC” of 2000. They are out dated. That particular program has fallen through the system. IPT as a subject at my school will die out with this years HSC. Students no longer choose it as option, they prefer the IT Multimedia course for the reasons you elude to. However as I briefly mentioned, the BOS HSC markers will still mark up an Education or Community based app.

        When the world is striving for a top grade ATAR, you choose which will give you the best results. Not very good for innovation by students. Personally I try to challenge my students to prove the system wrong. I try.

      • I it interesting that Bored of Studies community often use the ATAR aim in their signature … as in ATAR Aim …99.0 – which influences the responses they make to their peers. Even more so, post HSC students will add ‘achieved’ and their Uni/TAFE course after it, an still advise. Reputation is build by much more than grades these days. Bored of Studies is now as much a part of student curricula as Board of Studies … it is a shame more teachers don’t give it the attention it deserves. It is really interesting that ‘content’ from 2000 – to help teachers is still appearing online.

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